Gambling is fun. The rush you get when you see a game of chance playing out while your money is on the line feels amazing. There aren't many activities that can replicate such an exhilarating experience.
However, some people take gambling to the extreme. Gambling is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. When people get addicted to gambling, the joy seems to get removed.
Gambling addiction is a serious issue. People suffering from gambling addiction have to deal with many problems in their daily lives.
If you want to learn more about gambling addiction, you are at the right place. Here is our complete guide on figuring out if you are addicted to gambling and what you can do about it.
Before helping you decide whether you are addicted to gambling, let's define what gambling addiction is. It is necessary to make the distinction. Gambling itself is not a harmful activity. A lot of people take part in gambling activities and have to deal with no problems.
An activity is considered an addiction when the urge to engage in that activity becomes uncontrollable. Another term for gambling addiction is compulsive gambling or gambling disorder, where gambling starts negatively affecting your daily routine.
For example, eating junk food once in a while is not that harmful. When a person eats junk food regularly and can't stop eating despite the harmful effects, it is considered an eating disorder or an addiction.
Telling whether you are addicted to gambling is not that simple. People that are addicted to gambling usually deny it. On top of that, many professional gamblers play gambling games professionally, like blackjack and poker, multiple times a week.
To help you better understand whether you are addicted to gambling, here are some of the most common signs that you can look at.
The first sign that suggests you are addicted to gambling is that you spend most of your day in gambling activities. It can be anywhere from three hours to four or five hours a day.
With that said, professional gamblers may spend this much time in gambling activities as well. They can do that because it is essentially their profession. We are not talking about professional gamblers here.
If you are replacing essential tasks of your day, like picking up your kids from school or going on a planned meeting with a relative, with gambling activities, you might be addicted to gambling.
Another common thing observed with gambling addicts is that they lie about how much they gamble. A person might engage in gambling activities almost every day while telling their friends and family that they do it once or twice a week.
The reason that they lie about this is that they feel shameful about it. An even bigger issue with gambling addicts is that they start lying to themselves. They come up with irrational justifications for their gambling activities.
Like any enjoyable or exhilarating activity, your brain releases dopamine while you are engaged in it. In the same way, when you are engaged in a gambling game, your brain starts to release dopamine.
With gambling addicts, this dopamine release gets smaller and smaller after each gambling session. When this happens, gambling with the same amount of money becomes insufficient to achieve the same level of excitement.
To get the same rush every time, gambling addicts have to spend higher amounts of money every time they engage in gambling. If that's the case with you, you are probably addicted to gambling.
One of the most alarming signs of gambling addiction is becoming restless or irritated when you try to cut down on gambling activities. These issues are known as withdrawal symptoms and arise when you start cutting down on any addictive activity.
If you have been gambling for a while now and decide to cut down on gambling, you should take things very seriously if you start feeling restless after spending a relatively long time away from gambling.
In certain less severe cases, these withdrawal symptoms start going away after a couple of weeks of cutting back on gambling. In severe cases, they can start to increase to the point that you can't control yourself, which may cause a ton of stress for the people around you.
One of the few signs that can confirm to some degree that you are addicted to gambling is if you have tried to eliminate it from your life or at least cut down on it but have achieved nearly zero success. By definition, addiction happens when you can't get rid of a habit.
When it comes to addiction, many people try to quit certain habits. However, the main thing that prevents them from quitting is the withdrawal symptoms, which we have discussed in the earlier section. If you have tried taking a long time off from gambling with no success, you might be addicted to gambling.
Another common thing that gambling addicts do is take loans from friends or family to spend on their gambling activities. Getting to this point is one of the worst situations you can be in.
Taking loans and spending them on gambling is not only a problem for you but also for your friend or family that you took the loan from. In the worst cases, you might end up in legal trouble.
Another sign that can tell you with high certainty that you are addicted to gambling is that you feel guilty after a gambling session. Why does this happen?
The thing is, gambling addicts might skip necessary tasks, take loans, or use savings to take part in gambling activities. When they end a gambling session, they realize that they will have to deal with all those issues, which is why they feel guilty.
If you have concluded that you are addicted to gambling, you probably want to do something about it. Here are all the most effective strategies you can use to deal with your gambling addiction.
The first step in dealing with a gambling addiction is accepting that there is a problem in the first place. One of the worst issues with gambling addicts, or addicts of any other kind, is that they don't come to terms with the problem and keep denying the issue.
When you realize that you have a problem, you can start working on fixing it. If you don't even agree that you have a problem and try to change the topic whenever the issue gets brought up in conversations, you won't be able to deal with the issue.
While it might sound a bit obvious to you that a gambling addict should first admit that they are addicted, you would be surprised to find out how many people stick to denial. It is quite common and extremely unproductive for people when it comes to quitting gambling.
The next thing you should do to deal with a gambling addiction is take up a new hobby. The main reason why a lot of gambling addicts feel the urge to get back into a gambling activity is because they get bored. When you have nothing enjoyable to do, getting back into something that you know will make you happy seems very easy.
There are a ton of hobbies you can take up. For example, you can get into a sport like cycling, table tennis, swimming, or even walking. You can start working out in the gym. All of those are great activities for anyone and provide tons of health benefits.
However, a hobby must be something you enjoy. You should take up a hobby because you want to, not because you have to. To keep yourself in check, you can join a club related to your hobby.
Another common reason why people keep on gambling is that they think they will win back all the money they have lost. Winning back all the money you lost over years of gambling is an unreasonable task and nearly impossible.
One of the most important things you should do if you are serious about dealing with your gambling addiction is to forget all the losses. Worrying about something that has already been done is not helpful to anyone. The best thing is to forget everything that happened and move on.
Finally, one of the best things you can do to deal with your gambling addiction is to seek help. If you are addicted to gambling, you should know that you are not alone. Many people out there are suffering from the same issues you are.
The good part is that there are a ton of communities you can join with people that help others who are dealing with gambling addiction. You can join these communities and share your problems with them. There are many people ready to help you. All it takes is reaching out to them.
Gambling addiction is something that mustn't be taken lightly. It can cause a ton of distress to you, your friends, and your family. However, gambling itself is not the issue. A ton of people gamble and have normal lives.
The first thing to do is figure out if you are addicted to gambling or not. After that, you can move on to fixing the issue. There are many great strategies you can use to deal with gambling addiction. Try out a few mentioned above.